Indiana backs controversial law on ‘religious freedom’
WIDESPREAD CRITICISM has followed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in the American state of Indiana.
Signed into action by Governor Mike Pence, it has faced criticism due to the fact that it could allow discrimination to numerous groups of people.
The law says that the state government cannot “substantially burden” an individual’s ability to follow their religious beliefs, except in cases where the government can prove a reason for imposing that restriction.
The uproar from opponents of the law, in the community and across the United States, comes from the fact that this law practically legalises discrimination.
Through the wording of the law, it implies that people can deny service to others based on race, colour, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or service in the US military by using the front that it is because of their own religious beliefs.
Several high-profile citizens have taken to social media to discuss their disappointment in this law.
The CEO of Apple joined other tech leaders in speaking out against the law. Tim Cook said that the Indiana law may have began a “very dangerous … wave of legislation.” He also voiced his hopes that the governor of Arkansas would veto a similar bill.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association, which has its headquarters in Indianapolis, has voiced concerned over how the legislation will affect student-athletes and employees.
NCAA analyst and former NBA player Charles Barkley said that the law was “unacceptable.”
“As long as anti-gay legislation exists in any state, I strongly believe big events such as the Final Four and Super Bowl should not be held in those states’ cities,” said Barkley.
Along with the mass amount of voices speaking against the law, there are also areas in the United States that are taking action to boycott Indiana.
The San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray have banned cityfunded travel to Indiana.
Other people that have spoken in opposition to the law include celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher, Larry King and James Van Der Beek.
Hillary Clinton has also voiced disappointment in the law tweeting, “Sad this new Indiana law can happen in America today. We shouldn’t discriminate against people because of who they love.”
Due to the backlash, Indiana governor Mike Pence has said that he is open to clarifying the law, but has no plans to change it.